Step 1: Raising awareness

Domestic violence is not only present in the private sphere. It affects all of us. Yet, stereotypes about women survivors of this type of violence still persist. This is why it is so important to promote a women focus perspective, which puts women and their experience in the centre. It is also vital to improve tools to be able to acknowledge and identify women survivors of this type of violence and thus be able to approach and be supportive to them in their process.

ACTIV project aims to raise awareness of the information available providing companies and field workers with tools to be implemented in their daily practice. Companies play an essential role in the reinsertion of women survivors. Thus, it is fundamental to promote more cooperation and synergies between field actors to create more job opportunities.

Objectives

To raise awareness of the cycle and continuum of violence to:

  • Identify women facing domestic violence;
  • Ensure that they are cared for in the best possible way;
  • Help these women to get out of the cycle of violence;
  • Propose a structural and anti-blame approach to the care of women victims of domestic violence.

Challenges for the field workers involved

Often, field workers are in contact with a woman facing domestic violence without even knowing it. With little training, they do not always know how to react when the woman tells them her story or when they suspect a situation of violence. In the survey we carried out among field workers, there is a need for more training in the following topics:

  • Knowledge of the cycle of violence
  • Continuum of violence
  • How to detect a situation of violence?
  • How to establish an equal, caring and trusting relationship?
  • What are the basic needs of women that must be met?

Raising awareness of the information available, the existing initiatives in the field is needed to promote more cooperation/synergies between field actors. The questions field actors often ask are the following:

  • Whom should I contact if I meet a woman facing domestic violence?
  • What are the existing resources?
The basic strategy followed to take stock of the situation and identify the resources. The idea is to empower the person, to take power in their life.
For example, to go through administrative hurdles, get information from the right place, gain respect, etc.

Social worker

Resources for the field workers

Key aspects for a successful back-to-work path of women confronted with domestic violence

This guidebook highlights the main steps of a successful return to work, puts definitions, European and national contexts and legal frameworks (Belgium, France, Romania, Spain) into perspective, and identifies common indicators facilitating mutual understanding between the actors involved in the return-to-work process.

Available here.

The violence meter

This easy-to-understand tool allows you to recognise what is acceptable or not in a relationship.

Available here.

Challenges for companies

In Europe, one woman in three has been physically or sexually abused, most often by a partner or ex-partner. This means that every employer has been, is or will be in contact with an employee who has experienced gender-based violence, whether it happens at work or in the private sphere.

However, it is not easy for a company to talk about domestic violence. It is often assumed that this is a private matter and that an employer cannot intervene in this area. Yet female employees spend more than a third of their time at work (sometimes their only place of social interaction outside their domestic environment). This is a time that they spend away from their abuser. During this time they can take steps to get away from the violence.

Beyond the personal and social impacts, violence also has economic consequences. Multiple surveys show the extent to which such violence affects the victim’s ability to work, as well as her colleagues: reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, turnover, resignation without notice, etc.

It is therefore important to communicate widely on the role of the employer and on the place that companies can take in the fight against this violence. Indeed positioning the workplace as a safe place where victims can find support and referrals greatly increases the impact of initiatives.

“We would ask for more companies involved in the social and professional reintegration of women,
more funds to develop these kinds of projects and more housing to stabilise the situation of these women.

Fondation Agir Contre l’Exclusion

Resources for the field workers

National studies to understand the impact of domestic violence in the workplace

To raise awareness of the importance of socio-professional reintegration and job retention, it is important to understand the impact that employers and companies can have in this struggle. The studies will make it possible to have figures and to convince employers to commit themselves to the fight against domestic violence, which goes beyond the private sphere.

France

Belgium

Spain

Romania

CARVE project

The project entitled “Companies Against gendeRbased ViolencE – CARVE” aims
to raise awareness and prevent gender-related violence committed against women through a comprehensive European campaign involving companies. The main resources of the project are: 1) National qualitative studies that aim at presenting the legal and social background as well as the way violence committed against women is treated in each partner country 2) A compilation of best workplace practices.

Available here.

CEASE prosters

The posters are addressed to every employee at every level and can be used independently from each other and be put up on the company’s premises.

Available here.

Digital resources to go further

These resources can be shared with every employee at every level to raise awareness among them.

Available here.